President Donald Trump announced the distribution of 150 million rapid examinations in the United States to detect infection with the emerging coronavirus within 15 minutes, which is a method similar to pregnancy tests and much faster than the laboratory tests used since the beginning of the epidemic, albeit less accurate than them.
For months, public health experts in the United States have been pressing for the use of this quick and inexpensive test, which allows one to examine himself by himself several times a week, as needed, and to obtain the result within minutes, considering that the highly accurate laboratory examination whose result is known only after five Or seven days it becomes practically useless because the peak phase of transmission usually has passed and the disease has spread.
Although this examination is less accurate than the traditional laboratory tests, “PCR” (polymerase chain reaction), which means that it will not detect a certain number of infections, but these experts confirm that with regard to public health, it is more effective because it allows to perform double numbers Of the tests, and thus, in the end, it could discover a much greater number of infections.
Also, the rapid examination saves very valuable time compared to the traditional laboratory examination, as the ability of the infected person to transmit the infection to others is often at its peak at the beginning of the infection period, which is the period during which isolating the infected is considered crucial to limit the spread of the epidemic.
From the White House lawn, with the president of Abbott, the company that created the test, stood beside him, “50 million tests will go to protect the most vulnerable communities.” Priority, he added, would be for school teachers, nursing homes, and universities that have historically served black and indigenous people.
At the end of August, Abbott urgently obtained a license to market this test, the only one of its kind so far in the United States.
Earlier, the World Health Organization announced its intention to provide the poorest countries in the world with 120 million rapid examinations during the next six months.
In the United States, the rapid test, called “Binax Now”, will not be available in pharmacies for public purchase. Rather, it will be performed by health professionals or trained personnel, according to priorities set by state governors.